Know the Risk Factors

Are there certain factors that predispose a teen to being suicidal?
Yes. If your child has a history of behavioral health or social issues, you should be on the lookout for warnings signs. Risk factors include the following:

  • A psychological disorder, especially depression, bipolar disorder, and/or alcohol and drug use (90% of people who die by suicide have a psychological disorder at the time of death)
  • Feelings of distress, irritability, or agitation
  • Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness that often accompany depression
  • Repeated failures at school
  • Isolation from peers
  • Violent behavior
  • A previous suicide attempt
  • A family history of depression or suicide (depressive illnesses may have a genetic component, so some teens may be predisposed to suffer major depression)
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Lack of a support network, poor relationships with parents or peers, and feelings of social isolation
  • Identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) in an unsupportive family or community and/or hostile school environment